Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called for united action against terrorism, including its use as an instrument of state policy by some countries, against the backdrop of world leaders expressing concern at the international movement of foreign terrorist fighters.
“Old structures of terrorism remain. There are countries that still use it as an instrument of state policy,” Modi said in an apparent reference to Pakistan while making an intervention at a working dinner at the G20 Summit on Sunday.
“There should be no distinction between terrorist groups or discrimination between states,” he added.
New Delhi has for long accused Islamabad of backing anti-India terror groups such as Laskhar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed. Pakistan’s tardy prosecution of seven men arrested over the 2008 Mumbai attacks has emerged as a key irritant in bilateral ties.
India has also charged Pakistan with adopting a policy of cracking down on terror groups that carry out attacks within the country and turning a blind eye to the activities of anti-India groups such as LeT and Jamaat-ud-Dawah.
Modi joined world leaders at the G20 Summit to seek urgent and united efforts to combat terrorism even as he pledged solidarity with France after a rash of deadly attacks in Paris killed nearly 130 people.
The fight against the Islamic State, which claimed responsibility for the Paris carnage, has dominated the discourse at the summit in the coastal city of Antalya.
Modi noted that the character of terrorism is changing with “global links, franchise relations, home-grown terrorism and use of cyber space for recruitment and propaganda”. This, he said, was a “new level of threat to pluralist and open societies”.
“Even more important than what we face is how we respond to the threat,” he said. “The world must speak in one voice and act in unison against terrorism, without any political considerations.” Modi listed several steps that could bolster the fight against terrorism, including isolating those who support and sponsor terrorism, restructuring the international legal framework to deal with terrorism, adopting the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism proposed by India, and strengthening efforts to prevent the supply of arms to terrorists and curbing terror financing.
“We have to help each other secure our cyberspace, and minimise use of internet and social media for terrorist activities,” he said.
“We need to involve religious leaders, thinkers and opinion makers for a social movement against extremism, particularly addressed to the youth. This is needed most in countries where it is most prevalent.”
The world community, he said, should “delink terror and religion” and “promote broader peace and stability in West Asia and Africa”. He added: “This is also required for addressing the current refugee crisis.”